Senate Council hears about vaccinations and commencements


University leaders updated the Pitt community on the status of COVID-19 vaccination efforts, commencement plans and more at the April 22 Senate Council meeting.

Melissa McGivney, associate dean for community partnerships at the School of Pharmacy, said Pitt has completed 26 clinics at the Petersen Events Center with more than 15,000 doses — 10,000 first doses and 5,000 second doses — of vaccine administered

The University has fully vaccinated more than 5,000 people and is on track to fully vaccinate 10,000, McGivney added.

As the needs of Pitt’s surrounding communities change, the vaccination efforts will transition from the Petersen Events Center to smaller clinics. McGivney said she’ll be participating in a clinic next week at Nordenberg Hall.

Additionally, McGivney said the chances of getting a second dose elsewhere are increasing, and she has been encouraging students to get the first dose while still on campus, keep their vaccine card and, if necessary, seek out pharmacies and local health departments for the second dose. Pitt conducted a first-dose clinic on April 21 at the Pete for faculty, staff and students.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said he’s been receiving positive feedback from public health officials and elected officials about Pitt’s vaccination efforts and how they have influenced other clinics across the region.

“I also want to acknowledge not just the leadership, but hundreds of volunteers from across our community who have stepped up,” Gallagher said. “And a lot of faculty, students and staff have jumped in and played really vital roles. And it's really a great thing." 

Commencement update

Kathy Humphrey, Pitt’s outgoing senior vice chancellor for Engagement, announced that Pitt will hold 12 in-person commencement ceremonies, from April 29 to May 15. The School of Medicine’s commencement will happen last.

So far, roughly 4,300 students have registered for the ceremonies, and more than 130 faculty and staff have volunteered to work at the commencements. “If we had any doubt about whether this was something that students wanted, we can doubt no more,” Humphrey said.

Most of the ceremonies will be held in the Petersen Event Center, and others will be at PNC Park — rain or shine. 

In the event of a potential thunderstorm, however, Humphrey said that participants will be notified three hours in advance if a ceremony will be canceled.

The ceremonies also will be streamed on YouTube and will have a virtual component, Humphrey said. People who aren’t able to participate in person can comment on message boards during the ceremony.

The University will celebrate graduates in several ways, Humphrey added. There will billboards congratulating students, graduates’ names on signage throughout campus and pop-up sites for people to take photos, among other offerings. Free Food Fridays also will be available for graduates.

Humphrey won’t be replaced

The chancellor also announced that Kathy Humphrey’s position as senior vice chancellor for Engagement will not be filled after she leaves to become the 11th president of Carlow University on July 1, “because no one can follow Kathy Humphrey,” Gallagher said.

Instead, he said, some of the units that now report to Humphrey — Community and Government Relations, University Communications & Marketing, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — will revert to reporting directly to the chancellor.

Community engagement, which is currently under Community and Government Relations, will become separate and also report directly to the chancellor. Lina Dostilio, associate vice chancellor for Community Engagement, will lead that area.

Humphrey’s job as secretary to the Board of Trustees will fall to Rosalyn Jones, who came to Pitt last year as associate vice chancellor and deputy secretary of the board to replace Cynthia Moore. 

Special and Academic Events, which handles commencement, convocation, Lantern Night and more, and the staff of Heinz Chapel will now report to Matthew Sterne, vice chancellor for Business Services, under the senior vice chancellor for Business & Operations.

Job creep

Staff Council President Andy Stephany said job creep, where employees are expected to do more work than is typically required for their position, is a very important topic for Pitt staff.

An article on the topic, published in the University Times in March, inspired members of the Pitt community to share their concerns with Staff Council, Stephany said.

“I want to make sure our responsibility centers are doing their due diligence to recognize staff who are either committing significantly more work hours as well as more complex work that could potentially necessitate job reclassifications,” Stephany said.

Staff Council will continue to collect information about commensurate salary adjustments since staff have recently retired from the University.

Senate Council also voted to approve a Temporary Signage Policy that would require departments and responsibility centers create spaces where signs can and can’t be posted.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-383-9905.


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